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Career Advice

Guide to working in a Healthcare Assistant role

Healthcare Assistant job revolves around helping clients with their immediate needs such as washing and dressing, as well as helping them with their basic daily tasks like dealing with budget or assisting with health check and medication. The duties can vary based on the type of Healthcare Assistant (HCA) role that the carer chooses. There are various options available in hospitals or local communities.

As a Healthcare Assistant (HCA), you could work with lots of different people including children, elderly, adults with learning disabilities, physical disabilities and people with mental health conditions. 

If you have exceptional communication skills and willing to help people, the Healthcare Assistant role might be exactly what you are looking for. Here is everything you need to know about becoming a brilliant Healthcare Assistant.

Healthcare Assistant’s key skills

All good Healthcare Assistants (HCAs) must be tactful and sensitive with their clients at all times. Therefore, there is a set of skills that a successful Healthcare Assistants (HCAs) should be able to demonstrate:

  • A warm and friendly nature 
  • Good listening and communication skills
  • Ability to put others at ease 
  • Reliable and punctual 
  • Willingness to develop new skills
  • Ability to work on your own initiative
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Good writing skills


Qualifications and Entry Requirements

Many Healthcare Assistants (HCAs) may have worked elsewhere and have a totally different experience from the healthcare. This is not a problem at all. In fact, there are a lot of higher achievers like lawyers, teachers, and managers who are willing to work as care assistants.

You don’t really need any qualifications to become a care worker. What’s really essential is that you are willing to help other people and you have the right values to work in social care.

Employers usually look out for:

  • Good standard of English
  • Good numeracy and literacy skills
  • GCSEs or equivalent qualifications
  • Experience of working in a similar role or helping vulnerable people (e.g. volunteering or taking care of your family members)
  • They may ask for a healthcare qualification, such as BTEC or NVQ. It’s good to have a social care qualification such as a Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care, but you can do these once you’re in the job


Usually, employers will provide you with the necessary training as there are the minimum standards that every care worker needs to know. It might include training in first aid, basic nursing skills, moving and handling, communication skills, autism awareness, etc. 

Having relevant professional qualifications will be essential moving forward. A great way to move forward is to study for a Full Care Certificate. It will give you an opportunity to move on into managerial roles.

Some Healthcare Assistants (HCAs) join the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) as health practitioner members. The RCN runs training events and conferences where care workers can update their skills and network with others doing similar work. You might also go to the University and become a social worker, a nurse, a midwife or an occupational therapist.


Is Healthcare Assistant role right for you?

To be successful in Healthcare Assistant (HCA) position, having a passion (and patience) for helping people is essential. If you are friendly, compassionate and willing to change people’s lives for the better, a Healthcare Assistant role might be exactly what you are looking for. Find out more about Healthcare Assistant role in our recent article Healthcare Assistant Job Description.

Alternatively, we have a number of fantastic opportunities for healthcare assistants of all kinds across the UK available right now. Check all care worker jobs here to see if there is a role for you. Get in touch with recruiters by applying today!

Follow our TwitterFacebook or LinkedIn to stay updated with the recent healthcare assistant jobs and get in touch with our team via if you have any questions.

Written by Tatiana Prichislenko, Marketing Manager at GoToJobBoard

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